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Heart issues for those of us getting older and still competing
Last Post 08/07/2015 02:27 PM by Kenny Gonzales. 10 Replies.
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07/29/2015 11:44 AM
VeloNews has an eye-opening article on heart issues now seen to be fairly common in those of us who stay in competition levels of fitness into their 40s, 50s and 60s.

This article strongly suggests that moderation is a good thing, that staying ultra-fit for too many years adds up to a much higher likelihood of heart rhythm issues that can have very serious consequences.

Maybe my Achilles issues are my body saying "cool it".  Nah, I haven't been pushing myself like those guys.  Haven't pinned a number on for 38 years (for competition).  But I have done the two hilliest Cycle Oregons in recent years fixed.  Nah, I brought along the 23 tooth cog and used it.  But I did do CO's steepest climb ever (so they say) on the 42-17.  It hurt to touch my arms with soap when I showered after, they were so sore.

Is there any chance I was supposed to see that article?



07/29/2015 01:28 PM
That was an interesting article (which I read in a hospital room while my wife undergoes a another week of epilepsy tests). There were a lot of takeaways. It's not clear to me if the problem is volume or intensity or just cumulative effects from a lifetime of training or combination thereof. It was clear that when a problem is found, you need a knowledgeable doc and you need to back off. Having to wear one of those defibs on a ride sounds very bad. It also sounds like the problem those guys have is not something that would necessarily show up in a regular cardiac test.

The question I have is do I have to cut back my mileage or number of days that I ride per week? Awaiting more studies (and I'd love to be a test subject!). I always thought my joints or back or neck would give out long before my heart and lungs but I've been pleasantly surprised by how my musculo-skeletal system has adapted to regular cycling.

Ben, I've been trying out my daily commute in various fixed gears with an eye toward getting a SS but haven't convinced myself that grinding up the hills in the last few miles is worth it.


07/29/2015 04:59 PM
I read it an indictment of high intensity, not high mileage. Vindication!


07/29/2015 06:18 PM
Damn scary stuff. I get a bit of premature and odd beats, but nothing of it from the doctor.

Still, perhaps it's time for me to entirely let go of my cycling ego…

I'll have to ride in isolation ; )
Orange Crush


07/29/2015 09:59 PM
Can't say I care for any of the scaremongery. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Oh well. But this:

"After two years of coming to grips with the way he must now live, the 55-year-old Zinn has found that, while he misses doing hard workouts, epic rides, and races on both bikes and cross-country skis, he prefers the person he has become.

“I’m easier to be around,” he said. “I can go on vacations with my wife and be perfectly happy with whatever we do; I’m not pacing around hoping to get out and get some exercise. Rather than being out training or out of town at races, I now enjoy fixing my wife’s breakfast and lunch before her early-morning drive to her job. This new lifestyle is a work in progress, but I think I will be healthy longer.”

 on that note, once I finish the mad 50s bucket list, Haute Route Alps and the Spring Classics cyclos in April I plan to start taking it easy. With cycling bucket list cleared its family time, hiking, camping, skiing. That list of awesome places to visit is still very long.


07/29/2015 11:25 PM
Watching TDF, I've thought to myself over-and-over. It can't be real good for those riders health on the grueling mountain stages. Never-the-less, they always make the stages more difficult each year. It's almost madness...


07/30/2015 01:32 AM
Zoot, the one interesting point I saw in that article was that the lifespan of Tour riders is above the norm but that is apparently because for the most part, they more or less put away the bike when they retire and don't keep doing the training into their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Cosmic Kid


07/30/2015 03:38 PM
The idea that every heart only has so many beats in it has always had some appeal to me....kinda seems like it would make sense. So you make some pretty big withdrawals from the abnk when you exercise, but you probably gain that back and more by improving your heart strength by lowerig your HR overall.

Either way, from the moment we take our first breath, we are all slowly dying. I figure I may as well emjoy the ride as much as possible since I know how the movie ends.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!


07/30/2015 04:22 PM
Selling my bikes…

Buying some Scotch and a carton of Marlboros.


07/30/2015 07:10 PM
I suspect that more cyclists die from car runovers or other crashes than from cardiac events.
Obesity is a much larger health risk than exercise.
The heart is a muscle. Keeping it in shape is better than letting it go.
Huckleberry: Please stay related to cycling. Instead of Scotch and Marlboros, consider Cognac & Gauloises during TdF or Campari & Sigaro Toscano during GdI. (Sorry, I don't know the Spanish stuff for VaE.)
Gonzo Cyclist


08/07/2015 02:27 PM
"The heart is a muscle. Keeping it in shape is better than letting it go." exactly, did some serious damage to my heart 8 years ago with that Widowmaker, basically the upper 3/4 of my heart was dead, but the heart is a muscle, and you can rebuild it, I can push as hard as ever, I have maxed out at 180bpm, it was not a problem. My biggest issue is I get fatigued after a four or five heavy days, or if we really hammer a heavy MTB climb, my heart lets me know when it's tired.
78K miles since that heart attack, feeling better than ever
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